Distributed Energy Resources

Nev. utility signs MOU to develop blockchain projects

Blockchains LLC and NV Energy have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on energy projects powered by blockchain technology.

The project or projects will be designed to place customers in control of energy creation, consumption, storage and transactions.

Blockchain technology is often seen as synonymous with bitcoin, but it is a separate technology. Blockchain is being explored by a variety of industries for its ability to encode and encrypt and securely store and transmit data and transactions.

“We will explore a variety of out-of-the-box energy concepts to identify ways to improve the customer experience, including applications that further the use of energy storage, renewable energy and collaborative energy conservation,” Paul Caudill, CEO of investor-owned NV Energy, said in a statement.

All of the projects that come out of the Blockchains-NV Energy partnership will take place at Innovation Park, the 68,000-acre “sandbox” that Blockchains is creating in Storey County, Nev.

Blockchains CEO Jeffrey Berns paid $170 million for the land where he intends to create a high-tech smart city on the site, which is a little larger than Reno, Nev.

Blockchains’ campus in Innovation Park will be on a 1,000-acre site where Berns says the company will pursue research and development on artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and three-dimensional printing, all using blockchain as their core.

Projects developed at Innovation Park could be utilized to serve NV Energy’s 1.3 million customers. Any projects incubated and ready for implementation will first be presented to, and approved by, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN). Additional information about Blockchains LLC is available here.

The PUCN in September opened a docket on the use of blockchain technology for tracking Portfolio Energy Credits. The PUC said the current PEC tracking system is becoming obsolete and that NV Energy no longer maintains the software.

Blockchain technology is also being explored for use in the power sector in California, New York and at the PJM Interconnection.

California public power utility Silicon Valley Power, working with Clean Energy Blockchain Network, is testing a project that uses blockchain technology to track credits associated with electric vehicle charging.

In New York, Siemens and LO3 Energy are building a microgrid project that uses blockchain technology.

And the PJM Interconnection in October announced a partnership to develop a blockchain platform for the buying and selling of renewable energy credits.

Burlington Electric Department blockchain project

The board of directors for the American Public Power Association’s Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments program earlier this year approved $720,692 in grant funding awarded to 11 projects at the Spring 2018 DEED Board Meeting including a blockchain project involving Vermont’s Burlington Electric Department.

The Vermont public power utility will be using dynamic blockchain market incentives to explore reducing capacity and energy costs for utilities.

Burlington Electric Department will work alongside Omega Grid to design and deploy an opt-in blockchain market incentive program.